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Joan Rivers dead at 81

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Sep 4th, 2014

Joan Rivers has died at the age of 81, says her daughter Melissa Rivers.

The comedian had stopped breathing during a surgical procedure at a clinic in New York City last week.

She was undergoing vocal cord surgery when she stopped breathing and was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital.

A message from Melissa Rivers was posted on her website.

It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers. She passed peacefully at 1:17pm surrounded by family and close friends. My son and I would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff of Mount Sinai Hospital for the amazing care they provided for my mother.

Cooper and I have found ourselves humbled by the outpouring of love, support, and prayers we have received from around the world. They have been heard and appreciated.

My mother’s greatest joy in life was to make people laugh. Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon.

State health officials are now investigating the Manhattan clinic where Rivers became unresponsive.

Rivers found fame as a stand-up comedian and TV host before becoming a regular on reality television in her later years as a celebrity-bashing fashion pundit.

Onstage, Rivers came across as acidic and manic – sort of Don Rickles in diamonds and a Chanel dress. “Can we talk?” she would ask her audience in a husky New York accent before delivering a brutal put-down line, such as, “Elizabeth Taylor’s so fat she puts mayonnaise on her aspirin.”

When it came to getting a laugh or just being provocative, no topic was taboo for Rivers.

“If you laugh at it, you can deal with it – and if you don’t, you can’t deal with it,” she told a TV interviewer in 2010. “And don’t start telling me that I shouldn’t be saying it. … I would have been laughing at Auschwitz.”

Rivers, who was Jewish, said she was only saying what everyone else was thinking and if someone found it mean or inappropriate – too bad.

She didn’t always like criticism, however, and stormed out of a CNN interview in July when asked how she could be an animal rights activist and still pose in fur on the cover of her book “Diary of a Mad Diva.”

Rivers also drew fire when she said that relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks should have been thrilled to get a financial settlement for their loss. She once singled out model Heidi Klum by saying, “The last time a German looked this hot was when they were pushing Jews into the ovens.” Despite complaints, Rivers steadfastly refused to apologize for either comment.

Joan Alexandra Molinsky was born on June 8, 1933, in Brooklyn and grew up there and a nearby town, the daughter of a doctor and a housewife. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard College and had a six-month marriage that was annulled before she began pursuing an entertainment career with the last name Rivers, which she borrowed from her agent.

Rivers first wanted to be an actress but veered into comedy and wrote sketches for Topo Gigio, a talking mouse character on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in the 1960s after a friend turned down the $500 job. “For $500, I’ll write for Hitler,” she said in an interview with National Public Radio.

She also worked on the seminal reality TV show “Candid Camera” as a writer and in sketches with unknowing members of the public. She wrote jokes for comedians Phyllis Diller and Bob Newhart before concentrating on her own stand-up act.

Rivers’ peers in the comedy club scene of New York’s Greenwich Village at the time included Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Woody Allen and George Carlin, but she said she never felt like she was part of their clique.

Her career got a boost in 1965 when Johnny Carson – the undisputed king of late-night TV in the United States – had Rivers on his “Tonight” show and declared she was a star in the making.

By the 1980s, she had well-paying stand-up work, regular TV appearances, an Emmy-nominated album and a best-selling book, “The Life and Hard Times of Heidi Abramowitz,” based on one of her characters.

Rivers reached a pinnacle in 1983 when Carson crowned her as his regular guest host on the popular NBC television show. But their relationship imploded three years later when she left to start her own late-night talk show on the fledgling Fox network. The two never spoke again and the move to Fox turned out to be the start of a downward spiral for Rivers, both personally and professionally.

The Fox show lasted only seven months. It was canceled amid low ratings and much enmity between Rivers’ husband-manager, Edgar Rosenberg, and network executives. A few months later, Rosenberg committed suicide.

Rivers fell into depression, fought bulimia and endured suicidal thoughts. Her relationship with daughter Melissa fell apart at the time because Melissa blamed her for Rosenberg’s death.

Rivers had to pull out of a financial trough because Rosenberg’s bad investments left her several million dollars in debt. She accepted an offer from a television shopping network to hawk her own line of jewelry and it became a success.

From 1989 to 1993 she hosted “The Joan Rivers Show,” which in 1990 won a Daytime Emmy for outstanding talk show.

As she aged, Rivers was a carefully constructed testament to her belief that looks matter a great deal, especially to a woman in show business. She was slim and always well dressed, her hair was immaculately styled and her skin taut and seemingly wrinkle- free.

Rivers described herself to People magazine as the “plastic surgery poster girl” and said strangers would stop her on the street to ask for advice on cosmetic surgery.

“Looking good equals feeling good,” Rivers said in her 2008 book “Men Are Stupid … And They Like Big Boobs: A Woman’s Guide to Beauty Through Plastic Surgery.” “I’d rather look younger and feel happy than look older and be depressed.”

Rivers said she had undergone full face lifts, nose jobs, chin tucks, liposuction, breast reduction, an eye job and botox injections. One of her comedy albums mentioned her plastic surgeon in the credits.

In recent years, Rivers found a career niche commenting on celebrity fashion. She was seen along the red carpet at televised award ceremonies asking stars “who are you wearing?” She also hosted the cable TV show “Fashion Police” where she mercilessly skewered celebrities’ wardrobe choices.

Rivers was tough on herself, too. “I knew I was an unwanted baby when I saw that my bath toys were a toaster and a radio,” she said.

Rivers and Melissa also starred in “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?” with Rivers living with her daughter.

She was the winner on Donald Trump’s “The Celebrity Apprentice” show in 2009. In addition to several best-selling books and writing and directing the movie “Rabbit Test,” Rivers wrote and starred in the 1994 Broadway play “Sally Marr … and Her Escorts,” which was based on the life of comedian Lenny Bruce’s mother and earned Rivers a best actress Tony Award nomination.

With files from Reuters

New digital product to live-stream more than 1,000 NHL games, including playoffs

Breakfast Television | posted Wednesday, Sep 3rd, 2014

Rogers Communications has unveiled a new digital product that will live-stream more than 1,000 NHL games throughout the 2014-2015 hockey season, live including all playoff games.

Rogers GameCentre LIVE can be accessed through a new mobile app as well as NHL.com. It will be available on computers, smartphones and tablets.

Some of the features of the new product include:
• More than 1,000 games
• All national games, including Hockey Night in Canada on Saturdays and Hometown Hockey on Sundays.
• All playoff games, including the Stanley Cup Final
• The NHL All-Star Game, Bridgestone Winter Classic and Stadium Series.
• Regional in-market games for Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal, and Leafs on an authenticated basis.
• Out-of-market games in French for the Montreal Canadians (60 games) and Ottawa Senators (54 games)

Rogers wireless data and Hi-Speed Internet customers will get a free subscription until December 31, 2014. For non-Rogers customers, NHL GameCentre LIVE will cost $199.99 for the full season. A French-only package that includes les Canadiens (60 games) and les Sénateurs (54 games) regional games for $59.99 will also be available.

“We talked to fans in local rinks and living rooms across the country and it’s clear, they want access to more of the games and teams that matter to them,” said Keith Pelley, president, Rogers Media.

“We’re bringing fans national games and lifting more local blackouts so they can watch the teams and players they love. We’re also offering the app free to Rogers wireless and Hi-Speed Internet customers until the end of the year. And this is just a warm up – more fan experiences will be revealed before the puck drops.”

Alongside the news, Rogers also announced a new NHL ambassador: hockey legend Mark Messier.

Messier will be participating in a live Q&A on all things hockey Wednesday afternoon from 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET. To ask him a question, send it on Twitter using the hashtag #AskMess.

The announcement from Rogers comes a week after it unveiled Shomi, a digital-video streaming service, set to launch in November.

The company added Wednesday’s announcement is “the first of many that will significantly change how Canadians watch hockey. More details will be revealed closer to puck drop.”

Rogers is the parent company of this organization.

How to avoid the ‘Freshman 15′

Alexandra Davies | posted Tuesday, Sep 2nd, 2014

The rumours are true—the dreaded “Freshman 15” really does exist. For those unaware, the Freshman 15 is a nickname for the extra weight students typically gain in their first year — and we won’t lie, it is difficult to avoid. Myself? Well, I managed to gain my Freshman 15 thanks to copious amounts of Mini Eggs and the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies served all day every day. Who would pass that up!?

As you take your first steps into residence, your home-cooked hearty meals turn into mere memories. Your new life is composed of ready-made crispy homefries, a make-your-own sandwich bar conveniently open ’til the wee hours of the morning, and all the bulk candy your stomach can hold. Why would anyone choose a boring ol’ salad when Thursday is Pizza Day? To make things worse, students are typically set up with a meal plan that is pre-paid — so it really looks like you are getting all this glorious food for no money at all. Why hello, heaven!

I clearly fell into this trap and I know how hard it is to work off. To help out all the soon-to-be university students looking to dodge their own Freshman 15, I have composed a list of a few helpful hints to keep you on track, focused, and ready to enjoy a happy and healthy year.

Take Advantage of the Campus Gym
Odds are your campus will have a recreation centre of some kind. If you have the option for a membership, seriously consider getting one. Not only will you have full access to their fitness equipment, the price of the membership will motivate you to get your money’s worth. If your tuition covers a full membership, that is even better. Don’t let your money go to waste — take advantage of all the cardio classes and weight machines that you can get your hands on! Busy schedule? Excuses, excuses! In between your classes swing by the gym for a 30-minute cardio boost. You’ll be in and out well before Psychology starts.

Buddy Up
Committing to hit the gym yourself is hard, especially if you’re like me and “promise” to break a sweat after a couple episodes of Orange Is the New Black. But let’s get real — that never ends up happening. If you make plans with a friend to tackle a group fitness class, you’ll feel obligated to go. Bonus points: Take this same friend to the cafeteria where you can influence each other to choose healthier meals. You will be surprised at what can come from making your health a team effort.

Plan Your Meals Ahead
I know this sounds like a bore and very time consuming, but it will be worth it. Studies show that if you record what you eat in a journal, your odds of losing weight will increase. Planning out your meals ahead of time forces you to think about your calorie intake and can influence healthier choices while you scope out your dinner. Big lunch? Instead of selecting the chicken parmesan for dinner, opt for a salad with chickpeas, a little feta cheese, and your favourite veggies! There is always a healthy alternative that tastes good and is good for you.

Educate Yourself
What is the proper amount of calories for my age and height? I had no idea when I first stepped into my residence cafeteria. Without help from my parents, who usually took care of my nutrition, all I saw were the juicy hamburgers and omelettes bigger than my head. Educating yourself on healthy options and how much protein, carbohydrates, etc, you should be having per day is crucial for keeping control of your meals. Becoming aware of your body and what is good for it can significantly help to keep off the pounds. Most cafeterias will post Canada’s Food Guide on their walls, but if they don’t, you can find it here.

Final Thoughts
The most important note to take from this is to use common sense and make smart food choices as often as possible. A proper combination of exercise and healthy eating can save you from that first-year weight gain worry.

Do you have any anti-’Freshman 15′ tips and tricks of your own? Let us know in the comments below!

For more back-to-school content from Cityline, click here.

Rogers & Shaw team up to launch new subscription-video service

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Aug 26th, 2014

Cable-and-internet giants Rogers Communications Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc. are partnering to launch a new streaming-video service, set to debut in November.

The subscription on-demand service — called shomi — will feature 14,000 episodes and titles, 11,000 hours of TV shows and more than 1,000 movies. Users will be access the service on a computer, tablet, mobile device, Xbox 360 and cable set top boxes.

The joint venture will be owned equally by Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications. It will operate as its own standalone entity with its own management structure.

shomi will go head-to-head in the video-streaming space against Netflix Canada, which offers a similar all-you-can-watch-video model for one monthly fee. Earlier this year, Netflix Canada announced that it was raising its price from $7.99 to $8.99 a month for new customers.

The new service will be available first to Rogers and Shaw internet and TV customers and will cost $8.99 a month.

It will combine TV-and-movie recommendations from staff programmers as well as a software-based recommendation engine.

“We’ve taken the time to talk with Canadians to find out what they want and to create an unbelievable user experience,” said Keith Pelley, President, Rogers Media. “They told us loud and clear – they want all the past seasons of the most popular, current TV shows and they want it to be easy. shomi takes the guesswork out of finding what to watch, acting like a new-age video clerk serving up all the best content based on individual viewing habits.”

Barbara Williams, Senior Vice President, Content, Shaw Media, added: ”We keenly understand the media landscape is rapidly changing and that viewers are looking for greater flexibility when it comes to what they watch and how they watch it. shomi is our first step into the new world of content streaming and we’re so pleased to be able to bring this made in Canada service to the market.”

As part of its launch, Shomi has secured exclusive past-season streaming rights to titles such as Modern FamilyNew Girl, and Sons of Anarchy.

 Rogers Communications is the parent company of this organization.

Apple replacing faulty batteries in some iPhone 5 units

CityNews | posted Monday, Aug 25th, 2014

Apple is acknowledging a problem with a small number of iPhone 5 units.

Some of the phones have faulty batteries that have very short battery life and need to be charged more frequently.

The affected devices were sold between September 2012 and January 2013.

The tech giant is replacing batteries for free in Canada on Aug. 29. It’s already available in the United States and China.

If you have an iPhone 5, click here to input your phone’s serial number to see if you are eligible for a battery replacement.

Canada, meet your Bachelorettes!

Breakfast Television | posted Monday, Aug 25th, 2014

Will it be the lingerie model? The ER doctor? Or maybe the personal trainer? We are a little bit closer to discovering who will win Bachelor Tim’s heart as City unveils the identities of all 25 bachelorettes for season two of original series The Bachelor Canada, hosted by Tyler Harcott. Find out who will get the coveted first-impression rose on the special two-hour premiere, airing Thursday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (check local listings) on City.

Fans can learn more about the 25 women looking for love this season as five different bachelorettes are highlighted each morning in exclusive video reveals on Breakfast Television across the country. Following the Breakfast Television debuts, romantic hopefuls can catch up on all of the candid confessions by visiting Citytv.com/BachelorCanada.

Click here for more reveals from The Bachelor Canada.

Announced in April, Canada’s newest bachelor, Tim Warmels, 28, is putting his life on hold in pursuit of the one thing missing from it – true love. The successful entrepreneur and Richard Ivey School of Business graduate is looking for a woman who is happy in her own skin and wants just as much out of life as he does. As the limos pull up on Night 1, will Jennifer the “joyologist” win him over with her positivity? Or will quiet-but-confident Christine make a more memorable impression? Can April Borgnetta’s burlesque moves, Lisa’s edgy style, or Rileigh’s party-girl personality steal Tim’s attention away from the other women?

Ranging in age from 23 to 42 – and hailing from all over the country – the 25 bachelorettes are a diverse collection of character, energy, and background, with one thing in common – the chance to win Tim’s love.

In alphabetical order, Tim’s 25 bachelorettes are:

  • Alison, 27 (nurse), from Montreal
  • Andrea, 30 (dental hygienist), from Kelowna, B.C.
  • April Borgnetta, 30 (wax artist/”vagician”), from Victoria
  • April Brockman, 27 (realtor), from Wasaga Beach, ON
  • Christine, 29 (music teacher), from Vancouver
  • Dominique, 28 (reception & IT/model), from Montreal
  • Jacqueline, 23 (law office administrative assistant), from Toronto
  • Jennifer, 26 (“joyologist”), from Montreal
  • Jenny, 26 (personal trainer), from Vancouver (b. Hong Kong, China)
  • Jewel, 32 (payroll accountant), from Toronto
  • Kaylynn, 26 (ballerina), from Vancouver
  • Kelsey, 28 (sommelier), from Calgary
  • Lisa, 25 (hairstylist), from Calgary
  • Martha, 26 (fashion buyer), from Montreal (b. Cuernavaca, Mexico)
  • Natalie, 27 (elementary French teacher), from Cambridge, ON
  • Raelee, 26 (gymnast/art director), from Calgary (**Previously announced as winner of the ‘Canada’s Choice’ bachelorette contest)
  • Rebecca, 24 (waitress), from Calgary
  • Renée-Anne, 28 (ER doctor), from Sherbrooke, QC
  • Rileigh, 23 (philosophy student/waitress), from Kingston, ON
  • Ritiuska, 33 (engineer) from Calgary (b. Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela)
  • Sachelle, 24 (university recruitment coordinator), from Sudbury, ON
  • Sarah, 31 (personal support worker), from St. Catharines, ON
  • Sharan, 23 (IT sales), from Vancouver
  • Sonia, 42 (lingerie model), from Calgary
  • Trisha, 28 (beauty queen), from Edmonton

As the countdown to the eagerly awaited premiere winds down, learn more about Tim and get an inside scoop straight from the bachelor himself by connecting with him on Twitter @BachCanTim (official hashtag #BachCan) and on Instagram at @timbo0505.

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